Do designers dictate fashion? Nobody really dictates fashion. I think a lot of people believe that designers have a kind of sixth sense about clothing and pull ideas out of their brains and tell their customers you have to wear this or you aren’t in style. It doesn’t work that way. Most fashion changes incrementally, a little bit season by season. Obviously designers have to make clothing that reflect their brand sensibilities. But, they also design around what customers want. They study what sells from their lines and make styles that evolve from their best sellers. Of course they don’t make anything like the poor retailing pieces.
As Marc Jacob once said, “The customer is the final filter. What survives the whole process is what people wear. I’m not interested in making clothes that end up in some dusty museum.” The truth is that customers do not allow designers to dictate fashion any longer. Consumers are much more confident and if they don’t like what they see they do not buy. Gone are the days when a fashion designer could make a fashion decree of what was that seasons trend and all the fashionable people would gobble it up. There is a saying in the industry that: “the customer votes with her wallet”. Nowadays if a customer doesn’t want it, no matter how fashionable everyone says it is, it won’t sell.
Between social media and the internet customers are bombarded with images of fashion product. They know what is out there, from who, and at what price. They are being catered to at a level that never existed before. There is so much choice that no one is locked into buying what is available. So who really is dictating fashion. While the designers are the creatives with the vision, right now, no one really dictates fashion. It is now more of a democracy.